MONTVILLE, NJ - Despite a little rain looking discouraging in the early afternoon, the sun was shining bright by the evening, over the amphitheater behind Montville High School. There, the Concerts in the Park series continued with its third show.

“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to allow our residents a venue to be entertained outside with their neighbors,” said Lori Dent, director of the Montville Township Parks & Recreation Department. “Everyone’s minding their social distancing and enjoying the music. Our bands are happy to perform at the amphitheater. We here at recreation just want to try and stay as interactive as possible with the community.”

The Concerts in the Park series has been organized by the Montville Township Parks & Recreation Department for over 15 years. Later this summer, recreation will be planning its regular programs, including art enrichment & games galore, basketball, dance, rocket, yoga, and sport camps including lacrosse, soccer, and tennis. There will also be a comeback for fall recreation programs, including field hockey, yoga, cross country, dance, t-ball, volleyball, badminton, horseshoes, and bocce.

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For July 28th, township residents were treated to acoustic rock band Degrees Below Zero.

“The pavilion is nice and it’s good that we’re outside finally,” said drummer Tony Mariani. “The recreation department had cancelled this concert series at first, but then brought it back. This is perfect for Montville and gives people something to do.”

Mariani himself is a township resident and a 1973 graduate of Montville High School. He has been a professional musician for about 60 years while having done all kinds of work, such as a stagehand at MetLife Stadium. He has played drums in Degrees Below Zero for the past 11 years, alongside guitar/vocalist Brian Bauman, from Parsippany, and bassist/vocalist Liam Scullin, from Mendham.

This final July concert marks the 10th year that Degrees Below Zero has performed at the amphitheater. And the crowd, amounting to about 100 people, were thrilled to be outside and enjoy their summer, despite the coronavirus threat.

“These music shows are pretty entertaining,” said Pine Brook resident Gary Wertheimer, who has been attending concerts for about four years now. “It’s great that recreation is doing this. So many different things have been shut down, but this has not. These bands contain wonderful local talent!”

For the next show, on August 4, at 7 p.m., the Mighty Spectrum Band will take the stage. The band has performed everything in the New York/New Jersey region, covering all rock classics from Chicago, The Doors, Bruce Springsteen, The J. Geils Band, Elvis Presley, Van Morrison, and many others. In case of inclement weather, the concert will be moved to August 6. All attendees are still asked to wear face masks and keep six feet apart from one other.

For more information on Degrees Below Zero, visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Degrees-Below-Zero-492862004073672/.

And for more information on the summer concert series and other recreation activities, visit the municipal website at https://www.montvillenj.org/184/Parks-Recreation, or visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Montvillerec/.

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